BK burn pattern change / cat gasket question

tylorklein Posted By tylorklein, Jan 13, 2018 at 12:31 AM

  1. tylorklein

    tylorklein
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    Hi all,

    I have two BK's - a princess upstairs and sirocco downstairs. I've had them a few years burning full-time to heat 4k sq. ft., so have a pretty good feel for their operation and burn patterns.

    About a week ago, the sirocco started requiring a higher setting than usual to get similar burn profile and heat output post-engagement, to the point of needing to run almost wide-open to stay active. I don't think its a controls calibration since pre-engagement the stat seems to control as usual and the stat seems normal.

    I finally let it cool enough to investigate and everything looked normal except that when i lightly brushed the cat to remove minor ash it wiggled noticeably. Turns out the gasket around the cat is almost entirely gone.

    Does anyone have experience with this? I know I need to get a new gasket, just wondering if I might also need a new cat (only in use since 2014 and very dry wood but 24/7 during burning season). Also curious if the gasket is a potential cause of the burn change, symptom of a different problem or something else.

    Thanks,

    Tylor

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  2. weatherguy

    weatherguy
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    could just be the gasket but your cat may need a good cleaning. Is it ceramic or steel? Can you post a pic?
     
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  3. Poindexter

    Poindexter
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    I would get the vaccuum atrachment with the soft bristles on it and at least try cleaning it before replacing it.

    I wouldnt sweat the gasket yet. Leave it installed and try the vac. If you pull the cat, you have to use new gasket when you put the (any) combustor back in to the stove. My gaskets get pretty darn loose from use.

    Otoh, 4 years in MN with 2 polar vortex winters on the combustor, probably getting close to end of expected service life.

    Try the vaccuum first.
     
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  4. ratsrepus

    ratsrepus
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    Poindexter I think is spot on. Id go as far as a new
    if its 4 years
     
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  5. tylorklein

    tylorklein
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    Thanks guys. I did a vacuum with brush cleaning a month or so ago but will give it another try and probably just order a new one and make this one the emergency backup.

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  6. ratsrepus

    ratsrepus
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    what one are you going to buy, steel or ceramic? I see some one has a ceramic for 186, I think its a firecat
     
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  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    This is a sirroco so it requires the steelcat replacement. The princess can use either ceramic or steel so the money saved on a ceramic is nice.

    Be sure the cat is clear. If you have a phone camera you can hold it up and takes lots of pictures to verify a clear cat. If it’s clear and still performs as you say then it’s dead.

    I’m on my third cat since 2012. They only last for 10,000 hours and with the long burn times we really use those hours up fast.

    Replacing a cat is super easy and the new ones should come with a new gasket.
     
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  8. tylorklein

    tylorklein
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    Thanks for the info. I didnt realize there was a difference in cat options between the two stoves. The sirocco is fine and was the only immediate option from my dealer in fall of 14 but I like the princess a lot better already for depth in the firebox so I guess the cat options is another mark in its favor. I'll inspect / get photos when the current load dies down. Wondering if maybe it isn't plugged since the exhaust from both is similarly opaque right now and its just the level of t stat needed to get the same burn that seems materially different.

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  9. black smoke signals

    black smoke signals
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    Your cat should still be under warranty if you decide to replace it at your dealer. When is the last time your chimney was cleaned?
     
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  10. tylorklein

    tylorklein
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    I did the chimney in november. Just a small amount of very fine soot. Thankfully found this site and started stacking wood before I even got a stove so have almost 30 cord css and only burning good dry stuff. That said, i can clean it pretty easy except the last 6 feet since there is a clean out access so I'll give the stack a look as well.

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  11. Poindexter

    Poindexter
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    While you are ordering, having ten bucks tied up in a spare cat gasket is money well spent for me.
     
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  12. tylorklein

    tylorklein
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    So I ended up pulling the cat out to inspect it better. The front was partly clogged with ash but the back was almost totally plugged. Used the shopvac with brush end and cleaned it all out and its good as new. I didnt have spare cat gasket so just ordered a whole bunch. Night and day difference in terms of heat output and burn level for the same t stat setting though even without a new cat gasket yet. Like cleaning a plugged air filter in a shopvac basically.

    This was the front / while still installed. Back was 10x worse.

    ced950a3306b86391f34260b11fb107d.jpg
     
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  13. moresnow

    moresnow
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    Hmmmm. Thanks for the update. Food for thought for sure!
     
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  14. jetsam

    jetsam
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    I switched to a steel cat this year, and have already noticed a little ash on the face, which the old ceramic one didn't tend to accumulate.

    I think I will rig up a shopvac attachment with a little piece of copper pipe to allow me to vaccum the steelcat once in a while at reload time. I wouldn't do that to a ceramic cat, but then my ceramic cat never seemed to need it.
     
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  15. 2fireplacesinSC

    2fireplacesinSC
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    Interesting. Did the manual say anything about this type of issue in a troubleshooting section?
     
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  16. lsucet

    lsucet
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    Yes, under: NOT ENOUGH HEAT. The first of the troubleshooting.
     
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  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    So you just shoved it back in with no gasket or were you able to reuse some of the old gasket?
     
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  18. tylorklein

    tylorklein
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    There is a little bit of old gasket but less than half of it. Still fit surprisingly tight but new gasket is on the way to get it together right.

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